Developer tools

Trusted open-source apps for Windows

Open-source apps must maintain accountability when it comes to security. They have an active community of developers and users who help discover vulnerabilities, peer-review code, and perform routine audits on a mass scale. Security holes are patched at a rate that discourages programmers from placing back-door malicious codes. Though not every open-source app is secure, the ones that are benefit from the community in a way that closed-source programs and applications can rarely duplicate.

Many of the apps listed here have been so widely distributed and scrutinized that even RSA Conference attendees trust and recommend them.

Gpg4Win

Gpg4Win is a … Read more

Firefox 27 deepens its social integration

On Tuesday Mozilla announced the public release of Firefox 27 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. For this release, Mozilla adds more stacks to its social APIs, bringing new partners like Delicious onboard.

Delicious is a built-in tool that lets users save and organize content from the Web. Now users can access Delicious via the Firefox sidebar.

Web developers can use the new specification "all: unset" in style tags. Prior to the addition of the unset keyword, many developers popularized the use of reset style sheets that individually set all properties to a default value. The CSS keyword &… Read more

Google Dart target: Chrome soon! Other browsers...someday

Minecraft is one of the most widely used games around these days. So it was notable when the programmer who wrote it, Markus "Notch" Persson, embraced Google's Dart programming language for Web apps.

"I love it," Persson tweeted in November, shortly after Google released Dart 1.0.

That's music to the ears of Google developers who created Dart to rewrite the rules of Web programming and, as they see it, to overcome shortcomings of the JavaScript language at the foundation of Web apps today. To fully succeed, though, Google will have to persuade a … Read more

Chrome, Opera pass Epic Citadel demo's Web graphics test

Chrome and Opera have become the first browsers to match Mozilla Firefox's support for Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 and the Web-based Epic Citadel demo that's built on the 3D graphics technology. The demo's computing challenges include 3D graphics covered with 2D textures, rustling leaves, flowing water, reflective stone floors, lens flare, and shadows and other lighting effects.

Mozilla and Epic Games demonstrated the advanced Web programming in March using a combination of Mozilla technologies: Emscripten that converts C or C++ software into JavaScript, and asm.js that can run a specialized subset of JavaScript much faster. … Read more

Mixbook sees 'perfect storm' for Google's Dart language (Q&A)

Google's Dart programming language, an attempt to outdo JavaScript for writing Web apps, has had a polarizing effect on the Web.

Mozilla and Microsoft don't like it, preferring to focus on improvements to the incumbent technology, JavaScript. But Google, which just released Dart 1.0, aims to speed up Web-based software and the programmers who write it.

One company, Mixbook, which is firmly in the pro-Dart camp, is betting on Dart with a service that stands to offer millions of dollars in annual revenue.

"Google has set up a perfect storm for a new language," said … Read more

Google building Spark, a Web-based development tool

Google likes Web apps, but one area where native software remains dominant is programming tools. A Google project called Spark that came to light Thursday could change that.

Spark is a Web-based IDE (integrated development environment) that runs in a browser for developers writing Chrome apps, according to Google's Francois Beaufort, who tracks Chrome developments closely. That means, among other things, that Chromebook coders would have a way to be productive without having to move to a Windows, Mac, or Linux box.

"This is still the very beginning," Beaufort said on Google+. "There's not much … Read more

Google Drive for Linux? Patience, patience...

More than a year and a half ago, Google promised to bring its Google Drive to the Linux. Those who want to use the cloud-synchronized file system on the the open-source operating system, though, will have to keep on waiting.

In April 2012, when Google Drive launched, Google said, "The team is working on a sync client for Linux." In May 2013, the update was, "The team is still working on it." I asked for another update and got it Sunday: Google doesn't "have anything new to share at this time in terms of … Read more

Dart, Google's controversial Web language, turns 1.0

Dart is done.

Well, not completely done -- anything not actually cancelled at Google is a constant work in progress -- but the company on Thursday announced version 1.0 of its controversial Web programming language. Dart is designed to improve on JavaScript when it comes to programmer efficiency and software performance for Web sites and Web apps.

The 1.0 release means Dart is now ready for real-world Web sites, not just for testing, said Dart project leader Lars Bak in a blog post. And even though lots of roadblocks mean it's not possible to use Dart directly … Read more

Gutting and solving the heart of the cards at Def Con 21

While Def Con packs more events, workshops, and contests than the storage space of a ZIP drive, one of the longest lasting traditions revolves around the mysteries of the conference badge, itself.

This year, Def Con celebrates its 21st birthday with a card-themed cryptographic challenge based on the standard playing card deck -- except this is no ordinary card deck.

Attendees of Def Con 21 are all given custom badges, which are actually elegantly fabricated PCB boards complete with delicately carved copper contact points, mathematical constants, binary numbers, Chinese characters, and more.

In an improved and renewed focus on social … Read more

Mozilla fleshes out Firefox OS simulator features

Mozilla is at an awkward stage with Firefox OS: it wants its brand-new mobile operating system to attract developers, but there are very few phones available in the real world. To bridge the gap, the organization offers a phone simulator, and on Thursday, it updated the Firefox OS simulator to version 4.

Among the new features in the software, which is an add-on to the Firefox browser for personal computers, according to a blog post by Firefox OS developer advocate Angelina Fabbro:

• The ability to simulate touch-screen events with mouse clicks.

• A style editor tool that lets programmers create and … Read more